14th Oct2020

‘The Dare’ DVD Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Bart Edwards, Richard Brake, Richard Short, Robert Maaser, Alexandra Evans | Written by Giles Alderson, Jonny Grant | Directed by Giles Alderson

Jay (Bart Edwards) is spending a somewhat uncommon night in with the family. We come to find that something sinister is lurking outside the house. After searching for his wife and being knocked out by an intruder, he wakes up in a shitty dank ass basement chained up in the corner with three other prisoners for company. We soon come face to face with the prisoners captor, a man who hides behind a grotesque mask and is intent on tormenting and terrorizing his prey. What ensues is a battle of wits and will for survival as our captives begin to realize they share more in common than previously thought as actions from their past may hold the key to their current predicament.

I am not that much of a squeamish person but when you start messing about with peoples ears, eyes and finger or toe nails… Well that’s another story. Director Giles Alderson decided to check off every box of that trifecta with The Dare, an interesting psychological gorertacular Horror that dives way deeper into the psyche of a person lost to the world than I imagined it would.

I knew a little bit about The Dare before sitting down to watch it. I mean how could I not after having listened to The Filmmakers Podcast (go subscribe) for about 3 years and constantly being told “The Dare is coming, trust me”. I was really excited to see it was finally having it’s day in the sun… IN BLOODY AMERICA THOUGH. I was going to have to wait a couple months more before I could finally see the flick but let’s be honest. 4 years in the making… I could wait another month!

First thing I want to say is that for a movie they shot 4 years ago, this looks like it was shot yesterday! Now I am fully aware of the progression of technology in 4 years and how much better things get in that time but this flick is shot so well that I feel like it has a bit of a timeless quality. This is also helped by the locations, the seasons we are dealing with and the overall look and feel of the project. That is my first thing because yes okay, I know they would of been going back for re-shoots and everything but this flick legitimately looks as eye appealing as any bigger budget fare.

Having spoken to some of the crew and hearing about some of the gorier elements of the story, then of course our lead actor wakes up in a basement – which just conjures up a lot of Saw memories – you could be forgiven for expecting something derivative. However The Dare has way more in depth heart and layers to it than I perhaps thought it was going to. Our captor Dominic (Robert Maaser) is so intriguing and so well thought out by the actor that every little bit of information you do have on him makes you wonder what you don’t know. All great horror movies need a great baddie that leaves you giving more of a shit about him than his victims and Dominic is one such baddie. Of course Maaser is helped along the way by yet another classy shit bag portrayal from Richard Brake who lets be honest can do little wrong at this point!

One thing I really got a kick from was the fact that The Dare was brutal, but… For good reason. You see I have lost interest in the Saw motto of “lets just use gore as shock and awe”, in turn this has made me lose patience in most horror (not all but a good portion) because I like there to be a reason someone is being tortured and The Dare does this with a knowing intelligence. All of the torture means something to both the captor and the victims. So when you as a viewer start to piece it together, it makes the torture and the brutality smack you right across the head with some proverbial “real talk”. Also I kind of feel like we don’t get this type of horror/thriller anymore because there is a certain desensitization to it. However Giles Alderson and his writer Johnny Grant know that when this genre is done well it can transcend itself.

That said… The Dare is by no means a perfect movie (do they exist?) but this is a clear indication of what Giles Alderson can really do. I liked Arthur and Merlin, it was a genuinely good flick but I feel like Alderson is in his wheelhouse here and was able to craft a very intriguing story and throw in some “I’m gonna make you all spew” scenes. I have heard it said that some of the torture was dialed back and if that was the case then I must say these guys are some sick puppies because for me you don’t mess with peoples ears, their eyes or their toe nails because that stuff makes me heave (however well played because its all done very well).

The Dare is a very strong recommend from me. This is the horror that I like. Very close knit neighborhood horror, with a killer that looks creepy and sinister; he is always in control even when it looks like he may not be. I was compelled to know more of his story but on the flip-side the core cast in the basement are all superb putting themselves through hell and getting the job done. I will be keeping a keen eye on Alderson and his writing partner Grant because if this was a movie that took 4 years to get released and still looks this good. Well I’m interested in watching this journey.

**** 4/5

The Dare is available on DVD and Digital now from Lionsgate UK.


Comments are closed.